Mom Is Upset That Her 3-Year-Old Daughter Calls Her Daycare Provider 'Mama'

Does it really mean anything if kids call other adults 'mom' or 'dad'?

toddler girl hugging her mom LightField Studios / Shutterstock

Moms and their children have a special bond. Hearing the word “mama” for the first time is a big deal. So, it makes sense that mothers would want that name reserved for them and not used for others.

One mom navigated how to deal with this issue when she found out her daughter called her daycare provider “Mama.”

A mother was upset after discovering that her daughter called the woman who cares for her at daycare ‘Mama.’

The mom took to Reddit to determine what her course of action should be. She explained that her daughter is attending a new daycare and is still getting used to it. 


RELATED: Mom Called ‘Lazy’ After She Banned Playdates Because They’re Too Much Work

“My daughter is almost three,” she said. “She started going to a new licensed home daycare about two weeks ago after our previous provider had to stop working to take care of a family member.”


“When picking up my daughter last week, the provider was telling me how much my daughter is enjoying the place to the point that she calls her ‘mama’ and she calls other kids in the daycare sister and brother,” she stated. “She also tells her ‘I love you,’ and I’m sure she will be kissing her like she kisses us.”

For her part, the daycare provider was not quick to correct the girl. In fact, she seemed to encourage the behavior. “The daycare provider doesn’t try to stop this,” the mom continued. “When I told her that my kid probably doesn’t know what to call her (she doesn’t know her name), she told me she likes it because it means that my kid feels at ease in her home.”

While this is all good for the daycare worker, it’s bad for the mom’s confidence. “What should I do about this?” she asked. “Am I overthinking it?”

It’s not uncommon for young children to call other adults ‘mom’ or ‘dad.’

Even though it may feel uncomfortable for parents, children often call other adults “mom” or even “dad.”


“It never gets old hearing your child call you ‘mom,’ which is why it can feel heartbreaking hearing your child refer to someone else this way,” Babygaga stated. “But it happens more often than you think.”



RELATED: Stepmom Upset She Now Has To Spend Every Weekend With Her 'Clingy' 5-Year-Old Stepson — 'I'm Tired Of Dealing With This'

“Understanding why children may call someone else ‘mom’ can help you not take it personally,” Baby Gaga continued. “From a young age, kids associate this name with a caregiver. So, it’s not abnormal for them to call someone else ‘mom’ who they know takes care of them, despite that not being their mother.”


Children don’t know what the significance of the word “mom” really is. Since they associate it with caregiving, it’s natural for them to call any caregiver by that name. They don’t know that they might be hurting someone’s feelings. 

Fellow Reddit users assured the mom it was normal.

Redditors who commented on the mom’s post agreed with the facts and stated that this wasn’t something she should worry about too much.

One person described “three-year-old logic” for the mom. “‘The adult woman looking after me is called mama. Other small children who live with me are brothers and sisters.’ And they take that logic to other environments. I wouldn’t think too much about it,” they said.

Mom Upset Her Daughter Calls Daycare Provider 'Mama'Photo: cottonbro studio / Pexels


“My mom has been a home daycare provider for almost 30 years,” another person said. “All kids have called her ‘mama’ because they were copying me and my siblings. It doesn’t have the same meaning for small kids as it has for adults.”

As a third person pointed out, the woman’s daughter likely felt comfortable at her daycare, which was good. “That’s sweet, she must really be happy there!” they said.

While it may feel uncomfortable for an actual mom to hear their child call someone else by that name, they don’t mean anything by it. They’re just kids, after all.


RELATED: Dad Says 50/50 Custody Has Him 'Drowning' But His Wife Won't Get Back Together Because It's Cut Her Workload In Half

Mary-Faith Martinez is a writer for YourTango who covers entertainment, news, and human interest topics.